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Protecting Building Occupants in Puerto Rico from Vapor Intrusion Hazards

The environmental and building science professionals at Zimmetry Environmental provide vapor intrusion and indoor air quality testing, monitoring and consulting services.

Bayamon, Puerto Rico – WEBWIRE

A complicating factor in evaluating the potential chronic risk from vapor intrusion is the potential presence of some of the same chemicals from emission sources within the building.

Vapor intrusion occurs when there is a migration of vapor-forming chemicals from a subsurface source into an overlying building. This subsurface source is often contaminated groundwater or soil. These vapor-forming chemicals can cause indoor air quality (IAQ) problems and sometimes pose a health concern for building occupants.

Examples of vapor-forming chemicals listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) include:

  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as trichloroethylene and benzene
  • Select semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), such as naphthalene
  • Elemental mercury
  • Some polychlorinated biphenyls and pesticides

The agency goes on to warn that in extreme cases, the vapors may accumulate in dwellings or occupied buildings to levels that may pose:

  • Near-term safety hazards (e.g., explosion)
  • Acute health effects

In buildings with lower concentrations of chemicals due to vapor intrusion, a major concern is whether the chemicals may pose an unacceptable risk of health effects due to long-term exposure. A complicating factor in evaluating the potential chronic risk from vapor intrusion is the potential presence of some of the same chemicals from emission sources within the building. Examples listed include household solvents, gasoline and cleaners that may pose, separately or in combination with vapor intrusion, a significant human health risk.

“In Puerto Rico, just like virtually everywhere there has been past industrial activities, there are contaminated areas, including recognized Superfund sites,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “In some of these locations, the soil or groundwater, or both, have been polluted with volatile chemicals. These may include a wide range of substances that could pose a vapor intrusion risk for nearby buildings. At Zimmetry, our experts help companies, institutions and residents of Puerto Rico identify and resolve vapor intrusion issues and other potential indoor air quality concerns. We utilize the most advanced testing methods, monitoring instruments and decades of experience.”

Zimmetry also recently sponsored an educational video about vapor intrusion and IAQ that can be seen at:

To learn more about Zimmetry Environmental and their vapor intrusion, building science, indoor air quality, compliance and consulting services, please visit, call (787) 995.0005 or email .

About Zimmetry Environmental
Since 2002, Zimmetry Environmental has been providing environmental consulting services to building owners and managers, architects, engineers, EHS professionals and Fortune 500 companies. The company is based in Puerto Rico and provides services across the Caribbean and Central America. The professionals at Zimmetry offer environmental compliance, indoor air quality, asbestos, lead-based paint, Phase I ESAs and general environmental consulting services.

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 Puerto Rico
 Industrial Hygiene
 Indoor Air Quality
 Air Testing
 Vapor Intrusion

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